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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Whether it’s mowing the lawn, working in the garden, baling hay or two a day’s sports
practice, we spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer months. When you're outside
in the heat, it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. We
need fluids to keep our bodies properly cooled. Without ample water, you can experience
muscle cramping, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
How do you know how much fluid you need? Children need from 4 to 11 cups of total
water (total beverages, including water) a day. Adults need from 9 to 13 cups of total
water (total beverages, including water) a day. The amount depends on your age, gender,
level of physical activity, altitude and climate. During hot weather, you will need
more, but don’t go by thirst alone. To prevent dehydration, it is important to drink
plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day, even before going outdoors. One
way to tell if you are drinking enough fluids is to check the color of your urine.
Your urine should be light yellow in color. If it is a dark color, you need to drink
Be conscious about drinking enough water. Although we all know that water is essential,
stress the importance of water to others around you, including your child. It’s a
good idea to drink two cups of fluid two hours before practice or outdoor activities,
to promote adequate hydration. It’s also a good idea for coaches to mandate players
to drink about four liters of fluid during practice; otherwise they may not drink
enough. Larger volumes of fluid intake during exercise are associated with greater
cardiac output, greater skin blood flow, lower core temperature and a reduced rating
of perceived exertion.
When taking in fluids, only use water or sports drinks. Avoid caffeinated, highly
sweetened and carbonated beverages. These have the potential to dehydrate and contribute
to nausea. Water is great for the purpose of re-hydration, but sports drinks are designed
to make you want to drink more. Children will drink more sport drinks than they will
water because it has more taste and contains salt, which increases their thirst.
It is important to understand the symptoms of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat
stroke. In the Ark-La-Tex, the relative humidity stays around 40 percent while the
temperature usually climbs to around 100 degrees F. The combination of these two factors
makes the temperature seem like 110 degrees F. If you increase the environmental temperature
to 110 degrees F, then the temperature feels like 137 degrees F and heatstroke becomes
more likely to occur.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion are dizziness; cold, clammy skin; nausea and headaches.
The symptoms of heat stroke are high body temperature and dry skin; confusion; and
unconsciousness. People suffering from heatstroke will feel chilly and have tingling
arms and goose bumps. If you feel these symptoms, get out of the heat and seek immediate
medical treatment. Begin cooling down with ice baths or other means.
Please don’t ignore your body in this heat. Plan for your fluid intake before you
go outside. Too much exposure to the heat combined with dehydration could be fatal
for you or someone you love.
Be sure you take plenty of breaks and drink plenty of water.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or
on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.